Costa Rica honeymoon tips?
July 14, 2005 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm honeymooning in Costa Rica in the middle of September, primarily in Quepos/Manuel Antonio and the Waterfall Gardens in Varablanca. Some friends have told us we'll absolutely hate it because all it will do is rain rain rain during the time. Is this the case? Also: tell me stuff to do! Even if it is raining. A billion thanks.
posted by xmutex to Travel & Transportation around Costa Rica (11 answers total)
Best answer: I was in Costa Rica last year in October. It rained, but, pretty much only at night. The days were usually sunny. Or there would be some storms passing through but not last long. But, sometimes at night it would DUMP. But, by then I was generally in the bar guzzling imperials.

What to do? Well, I mostly surfed, chilled with my wife, drove to our next destination, and drank. It was a rather pleasant 10 days.

I will warn you that petty theft is a real problem in Costa Rica. So, keep an eye on your stuff. Given the opportunity, a tico will definitely take your stuff.
posted by trbrts at 12:04 PM on July 14, 2005

oh my gosh - go to matapalo instead... i am not kidding... so much cooler.
posted by specialk420 at 12:29 PM on July 14, 2005

I lived in Costa Rica for a while years ago (which is where I got my nickname) and just had my honeymoon there in April. Anyone who disparages it is a moron. It does rain, often, but not all day (usually). They are having a drought besides.

Manuel Antonio is nice, touristy, but nice. Quepos is just touristy. Do not be afraid of eating truck stop/road side food. In April our best meal was just outside Manuel/Quepos. If you drive out to the hospital where the paved road ends heading South towards Dominical, there is a truck stop type joint right there on the corner. Good eats, probably cost us a total of about $3 for the two of us. They make you wrap your beer in a napkin out of respect for the hospital, which I found really odd for CR.

The Water is fine. Beer is good (Imperial and Bavaria are so good). Salsa Lizano (in all the beans, dark brownish yellow sauce on the table) is to die for, I mean die for! I craved Lizano for years until I found a source near here in DC!

NEVER have I had any problems with crime in CR, not even in San Jose. That said, I wouldn't tempt fate anyway.

Last, as it is your honeymoon, do you really care if it rains? will you really be outside that much?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:38 PM on July 14, 2005

you might also consider - the atlantic side... puerto viejo vicinity or the drier nicoya peninsula and the exquisite little town malpais...

lots of good options - i would skip the overcrowded manuel antonio...

tent camping at the tip of the osa peninsula would be about the most romantic place i could imagine - check the honeymoon suite at too...
posted by specialk420 at 1:07 PM on July 14, 2005

I was assuming you already have plans/reservations since you named where you were going, no?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:22 PM on July 14, 2005

Response by poster: Appreciate the thoughts so far, but yeah, we're booked in Manuel Antonion and the Waterfall Gardens. It'll be a chill time, but as we're new to the country, we're not at all opposed to taking day drives, despite road conditions, and exploring. At night, you know, after the exploring, we make the mad passionate love.
posted by xmutex at 1:36 PM on July 14, 2005

Go see Jennifer at a hotel called the Blue Monkey (Mono Azul). It's at the beginning of the road from Quepos to Manuel Antonio. She's friendly and has lots of contacts in the local community.

The Manuel Antonio area is pretty well-organized in terms of tourist options. Things I did while I was there a few years that I enjoyed: waterfall rappelling, horse back riding, river kayaking. One thing I wanted to do but didn't have time for was volunteering at a wildlife rescue organization there. Then, of course, there are the beach and national park activities. Quepos is small, more of a place for the locals, but still interesting just because it's not, you know, a place you've ever been before.

You might go to the website of the English language newspaper, the Tico Times, and do an archival search on Manuel Antonio to look at recent articles about activities in the area.

And, it will rain, but not the whole day! I lived in CR for over a year, and loved the rainy season. It rains very predictably in the afternoons, but then clears up the rest of the time. I didn't hate it at all.
posted by megancita at 1:41 PM on July 14, 2005

A good day trip/overnight for a night is Hacienda Baru, but be prepared for on hell of a crappy drive there (50km, but expect it to take at least two hours, I mean it's rough). It is all dirt and rock through the date palm farms. Once you are there, it is a nice eco-friendly spot with great rain forest tours. The activities are similar to those in Manuel Antonio, but you get up away from the beach more on the rain forest tours, so you see more types of animals and plants. Prepare to sweat (but that's true everywhere).

You can book ahead before you make the trek.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:58 PM on July 14, 2005

My wife and I honeymooned in Costa Rica in the first few weeks of September, 2001. It rained intermittently, but was usually welcome and cleansing. The only time rain really disrupted our activities was the day we rented mopeds and got caught out in a storm. But we spent several hours in a covered open-air bar, met some wasted local roofers and made some friends.

I planned our trip to gradually get more rustic. We flew into San Jose then took a small plane over to Tamarindo on the Pacific side. We stayed at a nice resort for a week and spent the days getting SCUBA certified. It was incredibly reasonably priced to do it there; we pool-trained in our resort pool then had several days of dives, so if you include the boat rides and seeing the coast and diving and the fact they were private lessons it was a great deal.

Then we rented a truck and drove back to San Jose over the course of a several days. We visited Arenal and the hot springs there. Then we drove to Monteverde in the Cloud Forest and stayed at the Hotel Finca Valverdes. The Cloud Forest is definitely in the clouds; more frequent rain and lots of moisture. The frog museum in Monteverde is pretty interesting.

Driving around the country is something I would suggest only if you get a four wheel drive vehicle: we had a Jeep Cherokee. You'll definitely need it, the roads are not very good away from San Jose. Plan on trips to take four times what you might thing the distance would normally require. Also realize you might have to backtrack because the road may be washed out or otherwise impassable.

One side note: September 11th, 2001 was the day we travelled from our comfortable accomodations in Arenal to our most rustic in Monteverde: no phone, no TV in the rooms. This did not please the new wife as she was dying for info/contact with loved ones in the states. We had to create the "there's no crying on the honeymoon" rule that evening.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 4:29 PM on July 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

If you want a nice two-day excursion away from Manuel Antonio (which is beautiful despite being touristy), I second the advice on the Osa peninsula - it's a quick ferry ride from Puntarenas, and has completely different flora and fauna than the Quepos region. I stayed at a super romantic little hotel in Nosara (I think there are only a few hotels in that teeny town, and several are great).

Even if you decide to stay in Manuel Antonio, you'll love it. There are terrific local guides, and the sloths are so darn cute.

pollomacho, where did you find Salsa Lizano? I have been looking for it since moving back to the states as well and would appreciate any advice you've got . . .

posted by intoxicate at 9:42 PM on July 14, 2005

On a funny sidenote, this is from Manuel Antonio's official website:

"This park is just south of Quepos on the Pacific Coast, 132 km from San José. Perhaps It is so popular because of its expensive white sand beaches backed by an evergreen forest that grows right up to the high tide line."

Did they mean "extensive" white sand beaches?
posted by intoxicate at 9:46 PM on July 14, 2005

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